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Child Marriage Prohibition Act, 2006

The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 (PCM) provides a civil remedy as well as criminal provisions to prohibit child marriage and protect the rights of the children. The PCM Act provides options to nullify child marriage, maintenance of the girl and any child born from such a marriage etc. While the Act provides for relief to the child entering the marriage, it also provides for punishment of adults, who enter into a child marriage or perform, conduct, direct or abet child marriages.

Preamble of the Act:

An Act to provide for the prohibition of solemnization of child marriages and for matters connected therewith or incidential thereto

Silent Features:

This Act extends to whole India except Jammu&Kashmir and it applies also to all citizens of India without and beyond India and also this Act is not applicable to the Renocants of the union territory of Pondicherry.

Section 2(a) of the Act defines that, if a male is below 21 years and the females below 18 are considered to be child and marrige between contracting parties who are child is prohibited.

Either of the contracting party can file a petition in the district court to seek the decree of nullity of the marriage in the distict court if the parties are child at the time of the marriage. If the party is still the minor at the time of filing petition then the guardian of the party who is major can file the petition on behalf of the child. If the court issued decree of nullity then both the paries to the marriage and thier parents or the guardians should have to return the benefits like valuables, money, ornaments and gifts to each other parties.

While granting decree of nullity the district court can pass interim or final orders that male contracting party of such marriage should provide maintenance and custody to female contacting party, if the male party is minor then it the duty of parents or guardians of male party to provide the same to the female party.

The custody and maintenance of child born out of child marriage is given to the interest of the child and it depends on the circumstances. The children born out of this marriage is legitimate.

Section-9 states that Whoever, being a male adult above eighteen years of age, contracts a child marriage shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both.

Section-10 states that Whoever performs, conducts, directs or abets any child marriage shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to two years and shall be liable to fine which may extend to one lakh rupees unless he proves that he had reasons to believe that the marriage was not a child marriage. And section-11 punishes whoever promotes such marrige with rigourous punishment which may extend upto 2 years and fine which may extend to Rs. One Lakh provided that no women shall be punishable with imprisonment

Section-12 states that Marriage will be null and void in the following circumstances

Where minor child is taken or enticed out of the keeping lehal guardian or

By force compelled or by any deceitful means induced to go from any place or

Is sold for purpose of marriage and go through a form of marriage or if the minor is married after which the minor is sold off or trafficked or used for immoral purpose.

The government shall appoint Child marriage prohibition officers over the area specified in the official gazette. Their duties are:

To prevent child marriage by taking action, To collect evidence for effective prosecution, To advise the locals not to indulge in promoting or helping or allowing solemnization of child marriage, To create awareness of the evil of such child marriageTo sensitize the community on the issue, To furnish periodical returns and statistics when the government may direct such other duties assigned by the Government.

Thus this Act tries to prohibit the child marriages.

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